Monday, November 15, 2010

Kathy Watson to Retire

Please come help us celebrate Kathy Watson’s retirement. An open house will be held at Marshall Public Library on Friday, November 19, 2010 from 2:00 until 4:00 in the afternoon. Refreshments will be provided. All are welcome.
(See the next blog entry for information about Kathy Watson's 34+ years of library service.)

Thirty-Four Years of Service

Thirty four and a half years ago, a young woman walked into the Raymond Branch of Pocatello’s public library to begin a new job. This woman, whom we all know as Kathy Watson, or The Book Lady, found her niche in the library world and has been a fixture of the public library ever since. Now, after being the face of the library for so many people, Kathy is shelving her final book and taking her leave. No doubt that she will continue reading and laughing and learning in her next adventures, but certainly after so long a time, she deserves a rest.

Kathy calls herself an “accidental librarian.” That is, she did not intend to spend the greater part of her life shelving books, taking books to homebound patrons, and interacting with the many visitors of the public library. Kathy originally went to school to become an elementary/special ed teacher. But after some upheavals in her life, she found a spot in the library and felt that she had come home. Indeed she has made the library a kind of welcoming home for many, many people over the years. As Kathy said, “I probably know half the town if I can remember who they are!”

Some of Kathy’s responsibilities have included her first station in the long-gone Raymond Branch; Outreach librarian, Circulation Supervisor; and most recently, Associate Director. Of those different titles, each has been great in its own way, Kathy said, but the time she spent doing outreach, taking books and library materials to homebound patrons, holds a special place in her heart. “It was a chance to visit with dear friends in their living rooms and enter their lives,” Kathy said. “If you like reading and people, what better job is there?” Kathy recalled Cliff and Birdie Foster, one of many of her outreach families that became as close as her own family. “And so many other people,” she said.”My life has been greatly blessed by the people I have met.”

People, both those she worked with at the library and the members of the public that Kathy met during her long tenure, have been the source of her greatest joys. Kathy’s reach stretched far outside of Pocatello as well. After being involved for years with the Idaho Library Association, including serving as chair of the Idaho Book of the Year Award committee, Kathy mustered her courage and ran for president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association, an organization spanning the states of Idaho, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Montana, and the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia in Canada. She was elected and served as president in 2008-2009.

Now Kathy’s thoughts are bittersweet. “When I think about retirement,” Kathy reflected, “I wonder who I will be. I’ve been The Book Lady for so long, I think it’s time to try something different. How about Kathy Watson, author?” Indeed, Kathy loves to write and is, as she reports, working on a book right now. We look forward to reading her words in years to come!

When asked if she had any parting words, Kathy, with a watery eye, said, “I want to express my appreciation and thanks to those who have made my years here the happy ones they’ve been. It’s been a great ride!” Thank you for those happy years, Kathy. We will miss you!